A class action suit filed against Stanley Black & Decker claims the company has intentionally overstated the horsepower of Craftsman wet/dry vacuums by as much as 250 percent.
The complaint out of Connecticut federal court argues that the vacuums’ horsepower claims, which range from “1.75 peak hp” to “6.5 peak hp,” are false and misleading in that they are “unobtainable under any conditions” due to limits placed both on outlets and the wet/dry vacuums themselves. For instance, according to research from former Stanley Black & Decker collaborator Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the maximum possible horsepower output for the “five horsepower” Craftsman vacuum is actually just 1.6 hp, the suit says.
“The true horsepower of the Vacuums is only a small fraction of the HP Claims,” the case reads, noting that horsepower claims are “highly material” information for consumers.
Similarly, the label on the 6.5 horsepower model claims the vacuum has a wattage of 1440 at 120 volts. At this wattage, the suit says, it would be impossible to put out 6.5 horsepower, as one horsepower requires roughly 745 watts. A true 6.5 horsepower motor would require 4849 watts to operate, the lawsuit says, noting that the actual horsepower output at 1440 watts is approximately 1.9 hp.
“The above calculation and comparison can be easily calculated for every model Vacuum,” the case says, “with one, uniform answer: the Vacuums do not—and cannot—produce the claimed horsepower.”
Even if the vacuums were capable of generating their listed horsepower, the suit explains, standard outlets would be unable to provide enough power to support them. According to the complaint, the standard three-prong wall outlet in the United States is never rated for more than 1800 watts and 0.5 hp.
“Simply put, Defendant’s horsepower claims are a farce,” the suit claims. “It is physically impossible for any customer to experience and use the claimed horsepower of the Vacuums during use, under any conditions.”
According to the complaint, Stanley Black & Decker knew that its wet/dry vacuums could not produce the advertised horsepower yet intentionally marketed the products with false claims to “differentiate the vacuums” from those offered by its competitors.
The proposed class may cover everyone in the United States who bought a Craftsman-brand vacuum advertised with a horsepower output of 1.75 or more, excluding retailers. The suit also proposes a subclass for Virginia consumers.